Mwamelo Saga: From shocking emails to failed explanation
On Wednesday, February 27th news broke out that former FAZ veep Boniface Mwamelo has been handed a life ban by FIFA.
The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee of FIFA found Mwamelo guilty of breaching art. 11 (bribery) of the 2009 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics and consequently banned him for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.
“The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Mr Boniface Mwamelo, the former treasurer and vice-president of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), guilty of having accepted bribes in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The investigation into Mr Mwamelo was opened on 18 October 2017. In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Mwamelo had breached art. 11 (bribery) of the 2009 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics and consequently banned him for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level. Additionally, a fine in the amount of CHF 10,000 has been imposed on Mr Mwamelo.
The decision was notified to Mr Mwamelo today, the date on which the ban comes into force,” reads a story of FIFA website as monitored by the ZamFoot Crew.
Mwamelo came out to say he will appeal his ban and clear his name of which he has 21 days to log his appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
On 27th August 2017, The FIFA intrigity department submitted a preliminary investigation report and its enclosures to the investigative Chamber of the Ethics Committee in which it established that Boniface Mwamelo engaged in wrong doing to gain undue financial advantage based on email correspondence between Mwamelo and a Wilson Raj Perumal ( is a convicted Singaporean match-fixer. Perumal is accused on several match fixing scandals, including Asiagate in 2007–2009 and the 2008–2011 Finnish match-fixing scandal. He was first jailed for match-fixing in 1995 in Singapore.In the same year, Perumal traveled to England on behalf of a Singaporean match-fixing boss to fix two FA Cup matches. According to his autobiography, Perumal and an associate attempted to bribe Birmingham’s goalkeeper Ian Bennett and Chelsea’s goalkeeper Dmitri Kharine, failing both times.
In February 2011 Perumal was arrested in Finland and later sentenced to two years in prison.He served a year in Finnish prison and was then turned over to authorities in Hungary) between June 2010 and August 2010.
In view of the integrity report the Investigatory chamber chairman Ms Maria Claudia Rojas determined that the evidence produced was sufficient to enable a decision or verdict to be made unless the evidence was rebutted (Prima Facie case). Mwamelo was notified on 18th October 2017 that formal investigation proceedings had been opened.
The investigatory Chamber informed Mwamelo that they had finalised their investigation on 18th December 2018 and submitted a final report which was also sent to Mwamelo together with its enclosures with deadline date for him to state his position and request a hearing which he did not do in time.
He later requested for a hearing on 26th December with the excuse that he only accessed the adjudicatory chamber on the 24th of December. A hearing was granted for 24th January 2019 and later rescheduled to 25th which he later did not attend as he had failed to contact his lawyer in order to make the necessary travel arrangements and the hearing took place in his absence.
FIFA CODE OF ETHICS
At the time of the said wrong doing Mwamelo was a FAZ treasurer and hence he was bound by the FIFA code of ethics (FCE). He was found to have infringed art 27 of the FCE which has equivalent provisions in the 2012 version (article 21) and 2009 version (art.11).
In emails exchanged between Mwamelo and Perumal in the period June 29 to August 30th, The former agreed to work with the latter in assembling a team (Zambia U23) that would ‘listen to orders’ and if they gave Perumal their ‘full cooperation’ they would walk away with USD 100 000 at the end of the tournament.
A USD 5 000 was promised to Mwamelo for advance preparations upon the arrival of the team in Cairo and his believed to have been paid to him in Person. Mwamelo in one of the emails stated that he and his colleagues had selected a ‘boys who would listen to orders’, He went on to say he had ‘ he had done his work diligently as the at he was involving himself in was illegal in Zambia and if caught could save a life sentence in jail’.
Perumal later accused Mwamelo of failing to fulfil agreement as the team picked were fighting to win games . Mwamelo responded saying the oppnet were just poor and that four players played according to instructions but Cameroon U23 were just poor. He later raised concerns that the four boys had been dropped and they complained that they did not get anything after playing ‘according to instructions’ . Two of the players threatened to go public with the story as they suspected Mwamelo of pocketing money from Perumal who actually refused to pay because the team allegedly did not do what they had agreed.
Summary of the Adjudicatory Chamber findings
Mwamelo facilitated the participation of the Zambia U23 team in the Tournament
He acted as a middle man between an international fixer and FAZ, a FIFA member Association to manipulate the outcome of atleast one international match.
He agreed to pick players that would listen to instructions something he admitted in one of the emails that was a criminal act and could potentially land him jail time if caught
He requested and accepted money USD 5000 to manipulate/influence ( albeit unsuccessful) the result of a relevant match.
He agreed to continue working for Perumal.
In his defence Mwamelo claimed to have never had a hand in selection of the players, training schedule or technical input before or during the tournament. He went on to say he could not be held responsible for Perumals misunderstanding of him as the ‘mission of the team was to participate actively with the confines of the rules of the game’.
Mwamelo refused having received any payment from Perumal or having had any further contact with him after the tournament. The adjudicatory chamber found his statements and the emails contracting and cited that he had not produced any evidence or documentation. The Chamber further revealed that FIFAs early warning system in 2014 found a red flag in the Zambia U23 match against Cameroon on live betting markets giving it 3 out of 5 rating in terms of suspicious patterns .
Mwamelo claimed that the payment and the official act never happened and that the final report was based on assumptions and that he was not induced to perform an official act to manipulate the match. The Chamber disagreed with his presentation saying Mwamelo was not only aware of the match fixing scheme but was willing to co-operate as evidenced by the emails exchanged between him and Perumal.
When asked to explain the meaning of terms ‘ who listen to orders’ and ‘I give them to keep quite’ he failed to explain. When asked about the meaning of ‘I did my part’ he said Perumal wanted him to travel to the tournament but the topic of the email was the result of the match played on 27th July by the Zambia U23 team.
The Adjudicatory Chamber concluded that Mwamelo conspired (or at least attempted to consipire ) with Perumal to manipulate outcomes of international matches .
Mwamelo was also found guilty of having breached art. 21 par.1 of the 2009 FCE by accepting to receive payments from Mr Perumal in exchange for his involvement/participation in the attempted manipulation of matches.
Mwamelo has been banned for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.
He has been fined CHF 10, 000
He has to pay a further 3,000 which is the cost of investigations.
He has 21 days to appeal to CAS.
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